Can’t have women getting an education; they might get uppity and think they’re men’s equals.
In a move that has prompted a demand for a UN investigation by Iran’s most celebrated human rights campaigner, the Nobel laureate Shirin Ebadi, 36 universities have announced that 77 BA and BSc courses in the coming academic year will be “single gender” and effectively exclusive to men.
It follows years in which Iranian women students have outperformed men, a trend at odds with the traditional male-dominated outlook of the country’s religious leaders. Women outnumbered men by three to two in passing this year’s university entrance exam.
Senior clerics in Iran’s theocratic regime have become concerned about the social side-effects of rising educational standards among women, including declining birth and marriage rates.
Under the new policy, women undergraduates will be excluded from a broad range of studies in some of the country’s leading institutions, including English literature, English translation, hotel management, archaeology, nuclear physics, computer science, electrical engineering, industrial engineering and business management.
Now there’s a smart way to develop your country — if your goal is to march boldly into the 12th century, that is.
The Iranian Minister for Science and Higher Education claimed the move was necessary to restore “gender balance” in the universities. How progressive of him. But an observation at the end of the article hints at the real reason for the imbalance, and therefore the ban:
Iran has highest ratio of female to male undergraduates in the world, according to UNESCO. Female students have become prominent in traditionally male-dominated courses like applied physics and some engineering disciplines.
Sociologists have credited women’s growing academic success to the increased willingness of religiously-conservative families to send their daughters to university after the 1979 Islamic revolution. The relative decline in the male student population has been attributed to the desire of young Iranian men to “get rich quick” without going to university.
In other words, too many Iranian boys are cocksure, lazy dummies, while the women are willing to work hard to get ahead. So the answer, of course, is to close the doors on the most energetic and ambitious of your people.
It was Muhammad’s favorite wife, his child-bride Aisha, who once said:
“I have not seen any woman suffering as much as the believing women” (Bukhari 72:715)
Over 1,400 years later, not much has changed.
(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)